WALGA deaf to mem­bers: coun­cil­lor

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Quick News - By JON BAS­SETT

WALGA has been told that all WA coun­cils must have the power to de­fine sig­nif­i­cant changes trig­ger­ing res­i­dents’ polls on merg­ers and not its State Coun­cil, which meets to­mor­row.

At a tense WALGA cen­tral zone meet­ing at Mos­man Park Coun­cil last Thurs­day, Clare­mont Deputy Mayor Bruce Haynes suc­cess­fully got through a mo­tion propos­ing the State Coun­cil only have the power to en­dorse def­i­ni­tions of sig­nif­i­cant changes to a coun­cil, after WALGA mooted it be half of a coun­cil’s rates, res­i­dents or area.

May­ors claimed that a WALGA re­port after its Au­gust AGM in­di­cated the State Coun­cil could de­cide the def­i­ni­tion, which the cen­tral zone op­posed.

The def­i­ni­tion will de­ter­mine whether State Gov­ern­ment-pro­posed bor­der changes or just amal­ga­ma­tions will trig­ger a poll.

Cr Haynes said the WALGA AGM re­port chal­lenged the in­tent of the mo­tion agreed by the large majority of WA coun­cils, and it needed re­in­forc­ing.

The zone also adopted another mo­tion ask­ing WALGA to with­draw from merg­ers if the Gov­ern­ment did not com­mit $100 mil­lion for changes.

Five of six WALGA zones passed sim­i­lar re­quests re­cently that will be de­ter­mined at the State Coun­cil meet­ing to­mor­row. The cen­tral zone also agreed the State Coun­cil be told WALGA con­duct an in­quiry into its ac­count­abil­ity and pos­si­ble in­ter­fer­ence in pol­icy mak­ing.

WALGA pres­i­dent Troy Pickard was crit­i­cised by Mos­man Park Mayor Ron Nor­ris for Au­gust 24 and July 9 emails crit­i­cal of merger op­po­si­tion Coun­cils for Democ­racy, be­fore Pep­per­mint Grove Cr Charles Hohnen said WALGA was deaf to its mem­bers and it wanted to “cosy up with politi­cians”.

Mr Pickard said he could cope with per­sonal at­tacks but 15 other zones could have other opin­ions at State Coun­cil.

He cau­tioned that chang­ing a WALGA-ap­proved def­i­ni­tion of “sig­nif­i­cant change” could risk many res­i­dents’ votes on changes be­cause the def­i­ni­tion was not in the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act.

After meet­ing the Gov­ern­ment last week, Mr Pickard said no merger money would be an­nounced be­fore the State Coun­cil meet­ing. The mo­tions from the cen­tral zone meet­ing will be pre­sented with those from 16 other zones at State Coun­cil.

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